HL Deb 20 June 1991 vol 530 cc290-301

4.48 p.m.

The Minister of State, Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Baroness Trumpington) rose to move that the draft regulations laid before the House on 21st May be approved [22nd Report—from the Joint Committee].

The noble Baroness said: My Lords, the subject of pig husbandry has been much debated since Sir Richard Body decided to use his Private Members' Bill to phase out the use of stall and tether systems in pig keeping. That Bill did not reach your Lordships' House for consideration and we have not yet had an opportunity to express our views on the subject.

Before speaking about the welfare needs of the pig, I should briefly explain why we now have before us proposed regulations and not the Pig Husbandry Bill. Sir Richard Body successfully steered his Bill through its First and Second Readings in the other place, and in Committee on 6th March the Government tabled amendments to the Bill, all of which were accepted. However, at Report and Third Reading, Sir Richard moved that his Bill should be withdrawn. During the debate that followed, my honourable friend the Member for Penrith and the Border, gave the commitment that he would introduce regulations under the Agriculture (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1968 as soon as possible which would mirror the Bill. He has honoured that commitment, and the regulations before us have exactly the same effect as the amended Bill.

Perhaps I may now turn to the matter in hand; that is, whether pigs should be kept in close confinement systems. Continuous confinement was rejected by the Brambell Committee in its report to the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food and the Secretary of State for Scotland in 1965. During the 1980–81 Session of Parliament the Select Committee on Agriculture reported on Animal Welfare in Poultry, Pig and Veal Calf Production and called for alternatives to be developed and, when this was done, for the close confinement systems to be phased out over a reasonable period.

The Government's Welfare Code for Pigs strongly advises against their use and, in 1988, the Farm Animal Welfare Council called for their phasing out. The Government accepted that advice but sought to achieve the phase out on a Community basis. Of course there are Community proposals on pig welfare, but because they have been delayed for so long the Government consider that we can wait no longer before taking action in this country.

I should add at this point that the regulations do not extend to Northern Ireland. However, I can assure your Lordships that separate legislation under the Welfare of Animals (Northern Ireland) Act 1972 will be introduced to have the same effect as these regulations.

The reason why we have not been able to act long before now to eliminate these systems is simply because the alternatives have not been sufficiently advanced to enable the industry to adopt them on a large scale. Not only have there been doubts about their economic viability, and this was recognised by the Farm Animal Welfare Council, but there has also been concern that they imposed equally serious, if different, welfare problems for the pigs.

It is the view of the Government and many people that the alternatives can now be economically viable and can provide better welfare conditions. Indeed, something in the order of 45 per cent. of the 800,000 sows in the UK are now kept in stall free systems. I must, however, sound a word of warning here. The alternatives will work provided that the management practices and level of stockmanship are of a high enough order. We must not underestimate the task that falls to the industry to achieve this nor can we expect it to be achieved quickly. I see scope here for the agricultural colleges and the Agricultural Training Board to help with the training for stockmen. They can do a great job in assisting the industry to achieve its goal.

It would also be quite wrong for the Government to assume that the alternative systems as they currently exist are developed as far as possible. They can be refined further. The Government have a long-standing commitment to research into alternative systems and that research will not end with the current moves to phase out stalls and tethers.

There are two further points that I wish to make at this stage. First, the Government amended the original Bill in the other place so that the phase-out period was extended from five years to eight. These regulations also require all close confinement systems to be phased out by the end of 1998. There are two reasons why the Government consider this period to be necessary. First, the costs to the industry with a five-year phase out would have been such that some producers would have gone out of business and there would have been a knock-on effect for the ancillary trades. Consumers would of course still want pigmeat and the shortfall would have come from abroad—from the very systems that we would have banned here. Even with the eight-year period there will be costs to bear but they will be reduced to a level with which the Government consider the industry is able to cope.

Secondly, as I have already mentioned, the industry needs time to prepare itself for the full move away from stall and tether systems. There is no point in moving pigs from one system to another if the level of stockmanship is not up to operating the alternative systems without one set of welfare problems being replaced by another.

Finally, your Lordships will note that the regulations allow for certain exemptions from the ban on close confinement. We believe that they are all for acceptable reasons and they have not been challenged. However, the pig industry has made strong representation for the exemptions to be extended to allow close confinement of sows during the period after weaning. This time would include the oestrus period when the sow is coming into heat and also a period for about 35 days after service.

After consideration of the request and examination of the evidence the Government have decided that close confinement in a two foot wide stall after weaning is neither necessary nor acceptable and the regulations do not allow for it.

I believe that many pig producers will be pleased to have removed the uncertainty over the future of production systems which has existed of late. In due course the regulations will give the industry the opportunity to say that UK-produced pigmeat comes from animals which are not kept continuously close confined in stalls or tethers. Compared with our competitors in Europe we have the great marketing advantage of welfare. The farming and retail industries have long enough to ensure that all the pigmeat that reaches the shelves in our shops comes from farms operating the best welfare orientated systems available. I am sure that these regulations provide the right way forward for pig welfare and for the industry and I commend them to your Lordships' House.

Moved, That the draft regulations laid before the House on 21st May be approved [22nd Report from the Joint Committee].—(Baroness Trumpington.)

Lord Gallacher

My Lords, I thank the noble Baroness for her clear and precise explanation of the regulations and the history of the decision leading to them. We on this side of the House support the prohibitions on tethering and the keeping of any pig in a stall or pen unless they meet specified requirements. We also support the concessions.

The regulations are made under powers conferred by Section 2 of the Agriculture (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1968. The noble Baroness confirmed that the provisions mirror the proposals originally contained in a Private Member's Bill introduced in another place where it was successfully carried forward to Report stage. Blocking tactics were then alleged on the Government's side: I make no further comment. The Bill was withdrawn at Third Reading when the Minister promised the regulations now before us.

We are pleased that the purpose of the Bill is now enshrined in the regulations. However, we are sad that an opportunity to use a Private Member's Bill for other good agricultural purposes was apparently lost. I have noted the comments made in the 22nd Report of the Joint Standing Committee on Statutory Instruments as well as the replies to those comments made by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food on 17th June. I have no wish to pursue the difference of opinion, if it can be so described, between the comments of the committee and the reply by the Ministry.

Many people may consider that the lead times contained in the regulations are long. However, we accept that they are necessary. They allow the capital costs of disqualified stalls to be written out over a reasonable period of time without prejudice to existing producers. The effect of the changes contained in the regulations and the economics of pig production are difficult to estimate, given the information available to us. However, I know from many years' personal experience that the bacon market in the United Kingdom is extremely competitive. Denmark and the Netherlands in particular have a large share of British trade despite the endeavours made in recent years by the Food from Britain organisation to promote the home product by means of its charter scheme.

That raises an important question of when European Community legislation will be brought into line with that which the regulations now propose for Britain. The noble Baroness said that something is on the stocks but that it is likely to be a long time before it passes into Community law. Can the noble Baroness be more positive and give a possible date when we may expect Europe to follow the lead now being given by Britain?

Letters in support of the regulations have reached me from organisations concerned with animal welfare. I have been glad to respond to their overtures by saying that we fully support the regulations. However, I noticed that certain of those bodies have European Community contacts. I hope that they will use their best endeavours to speed up European Community legislation so that all European Community pigs are reared under similar conditions. That will ensure fairness in the market places of the Community as far as is possible.

Having said that and having thanked the noble Baroness for her introductory speech, I reaffirm our support for the regulations.

5 p.m.

Lord Mackie of Benshie

My Lords, we too welcome the moves made towards more humane treatment of the pig population. A totally unqualified welcome is given to those efforts. However, there are many snags which the Minister was good enough to mention. I loathe the pig stall. The pigs chew the iron bars and look terribly unhappy. Funnily enough, I am not nearly as unhappy about tethering. I saw some of the original tethers and the fact that the pigs could lie back to back and touch each other made them much happier than they were in the stalls. That may seem curious but it was so. They looked infinitely more contented.

I have run an outside pig system which appears to be ideal from humanitarian points of view. However, there were times during the winter when the pigs looked as though they would have liked to be inside, whether in a stall or tethered. Therefore, it is not an easy matter. For years in Aberdeenshire and elsewhere in the north of Scotland, cattle have been tethered by the neck throughout the winter with every appearance of contentment. Therefore, as the Minister mentioned, the use of the stall ensures that each pig receives equal treatment as regards food. There is not a great deal of bullying and without doubt there is far more even production if each pig receives its proper share of food.

I know that throughout the animal kingdom there are examples of those who get too much and those who get too little—perhaps I am one. Will the Minister comment on whether the stalls could be used for feeding animals? They would not be combined, but the animals could be fed in such a way that each received an equal share of food and each received a proper ration. That is a very strong economic point.

Perhaps the Minister will be good enough to say what systems are being tried and what experiments are being carried out to ensure that the high efficiency of the pig industry is maintained. The noble Lord, Lord Gallacher, mentioned that from his experience he knows that it is a very competitive industry. I believe that the public will buy bacon from abroad if it is cheaper in preference to that produced under a more humane system.

The timing is important. It will take a long time to change the system in an efficient manner. I reiterate the question asked by the noble Lord, Lord Gallacher. What measures are we taking to ensure that this humane and proper lead is being followed by the rest of Europe?

Lord Elliott of Morpeth

My Lords, in moving these regulations, which I welcome, my noble friend mentioned the Select Committee in another place which sat for a considerable period of time and reported in 1981. I had the privilege of chairing that Select Committee. It went into its task in response to public disquiet about intensive methods of food production—so-called factory farms. That was not a pleasant task. The visits which we made as a committee—and we made quite a number—to various places in the country and on the Continent where intensive methods of food production were undertaken were extremely distressing in many cases.

In thinking back to those days, there is no doubt in my mind that one of the cruelest animal husbandry systems was the tethering and restrictive penning of pregnant sows. That was deplorable. The noble Lord, Lord Mackie, spoke of pigs gnawing bars. We saw that many times. We saw the great distress in their eyes and their frustration. They could not turn round. If they were tethered, they were tethered either by their neck or their middle and were held by a heavy chain. It was a deplorable sight.

Therefore, when the report was produced and the recommendations were made, one principle recommendation was that that system of keeping pigs should be phased out as quickly as possible. That was 10 years ago. Therefore, I welcome the regulations today; but I emphasise that our recommendations were made 10 years ago.

I take into full account what my noble friend said about the husbandry and stockmanship required for alternative systems. However, 10 years ago, when we were undertaking our inquiries, a great deal of experimentation was taking place. Again, the noble Lord, Lord Mackie, asked whether the restrictive pen could be used for feeding purposes. I saw an experiment which used that method. Other methods were being tested which showed great promise. However, 10 years have now elapsed before the introduction of these proposed regulations and, sad to say, they will not be fully implemented until 1999.

I warmly welcome the fact that no further construction of restrictive pens and of systems which will entail tethering can be constructed after the end of this year. However, it seems sad that it will be 1999 before that cruel system is phased out altogether. I believe that the economic argument for its retention is not strong.

However, I take heart because although it has taken a long time, our recommendation will be implemented. A distinguished Member of the Select Committee in another place was Sir Richard Body. I welcomed his introduction of a Private Member's Bill on this all important subject. After much consultation by a number of us, who feel very strongly about this subject, Sir Richard felt obliged to introduce his Private Member's Bill. It was introduced because no action had been taken by Her Majesty's Government. As my noble friend said, that Bill has been withdrawn; but it is pleasing to know that the regulations which we are approving today follow almost precisely the lines of Sir Richard's Bill. I commend them warmly.

I ask my noble friend, as I have done in this House on a number of occasions, to take due note not only of the particular recommendation which has led to the debate taking place today on these regulations, but to take note also of other recommendations made by that Select Committee 10 years ago. I hope that Her Majesty's Government may see fit and see good reason to implement more of our recommendations.

Baroness Phillips

My Lords, I should like to follow what the noble Lord, Lord Elliott, said. When we listen to a description of a regulation like this and we hear phrases like "continuous confinement", it is not easy to envisage the horror which we inflict on those animals.

Like a great number of noble Lords, I kept pigs during the war. The economic argument has always intrigued me that we may be producing too much now and that we waste food. In some strange way, while pigs were cared for humanely and sensibly, just as the hens were, we seemed to produce enough food for the population of the time. So far as I know the population of these islands has not increased that much. We do not care enough about the animals that we eat. When we discuss dogs, badgers or foxes we have a great attendance in the House and we are all very worried. However, when we talk about hens or pigs for some strange reason there is just a handful of noble Lords present who have some interest in the matter.

Like every noble Lord who has spoken, I welcome the order. One could not fail to do that. The length of time involved before final implementation is very disappointing. As regards the 45 per cent. of the 800,000 sows kept in stall free systems, what happens to the other 55 per cent. of those poor creatures? They will not live until 1998. It is sad that we cannot carry out this measure more quickly. I am very much against European products and make a point of not buying them. I cannot think why we do not buy British. I have not eaten bacon or any kind of pork or used any eggs, for about five or six years. That is the customer's protest against husbandry of that kind. If we pursue that line more it will chasten everyone whether it is the farmer, the markets or those people on the other side of the water. I am delighted that the Government have taken note of the very imaginative Bill that was presented in the other place. Let us have a little more action, and let us have it faster.

Lord John Mackie

My Lords, I did not intend to speak in this short debate. I want to emphasise what my noble kinsman said about tethering. One of the best pig outfits that I ever saw was in Denmark where the pigs were tethered. They were tethered by the neck, not with a chain but with a rope, and they had plenty of room. As my noble kinsman said, they could touch each other. It is the same for the sow and the cow. To get the best out of sows and cows they have to have individual attention. There are still tens of thousands of cows in cowsheds in this country which are tethered by the neck and which are getting individual attention. For the best part of my farming career and for long before that, all the beef cattle in Scotland were tied by the neck individually. If they were bedded with straw, they were comfortable. I could not agree more about the sow stalls. However, we should think a little more about tethering than we are doing.

Lord Soulsby of Swaffham Prior

My Lords, I very much welcome these draft regulations because they address one of the key issues laid down in the Farm Animal Welfare Council on one of the key freedoms of animals in animal production; namely, the freedom of movement. Tethering and the restriction of animals in stalls is contrary to that freedom. When we consider tethering and restriction in stalls, we should ask why that has been done in the first place. In large measure it is done because of the major problem of aggression in sows when they have free range. Quite remarkable damage and appalling injuries can result when that occurs. Tethering is a combination of trying to control that and also to allow freedom.

Fortunately, as the noble Baroness said, research has progressed somewhat since the Brambell Committee. Now there is considerable indication that there are other techniques of raising and keeping sows during the pregnancy period that are beginning to be accepted as satisfactory. Unfortunately, they are not as perfect as we would wish them to be. Electronic devices are proving to be very helpful in preventing the marked aggression that occurs when sows are mixed together and the hierarchical system comes into play.

Another consideration which has been touched on is the economic side where farmers have made a very large capital input into animal housing. To change it over in a reasonable period to non-tether, non-stall housed animals is going to take some time. I believe that eight years is an entirely adequate period for that to occur. It should still place the British pig farmer in a competitive situation with individuals elsewhere in the continent of Europe.

5.15 p m.

Lord Houghton of Sowerby

My Lords, a debate of this kind brings home to us the length of time that it takes to get favourable changes made in the keeping of animals almost everywhere. The noble Lord, Lord Elliott of Morpeth, was chairman of the Select Committee in the other place. It arrived at conclusions which were quite startling at the time. Those conclusions were obtained by general consensus from members of all parties. The next step was that the conclusions went to the Farm Animal Welfare Council. It took a great deal of evidence. That body is composed of people with representative interests throughout; namely, the farm industry, the meat industry, the animal welfare people, and the rest. It was a very representative committee of all the interests. It came to unanimous conclusions about these matters and made recommendations to the Government.

Here we are considering the outcome of 10 years' work. Even now our pork will not be fit to eat for another eight years because it will bear the scars of cruelty, neglect and indifference of people who become running scared if a dog bites a child. The whole nation gathers round the Government to order the execution of 10,000 dogs and to do it within a matter of weeks. The disproportionate reaction of the human species to cruelty and indifference to others is an astonishing study in human psychology. We pride ourselves on being noble members of the living world, but we cannot come to terms with the animal kingdom.

We have veterinary surgeons, farmers, clergymen and all kinds of people who are willing to rally round and beseech people to be more discriminating in what they eat and how it gets to the table. I have said more than once that for any big social change to take place in this country it is necessary to go into politics, the pulpit and prison. Noble Lords should mark my words and look at our social history for any alternative to that process which takes years to complete. I will embarrass the noble Lord, Lord Soulsby, by fixing my faith on him. His is the first voice of the veterinary profession in your Lordships' House and he bears a very heavy responsibility in being here. I apologise for having referred to him in a previous speech as president of the British Veterinary Association. He is even higher than that—high though that is—as he is president of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons.

What we are discussing at the moment shows how long it will take to get a change and how important it is that someone should recognise, when first seen, the potentialities for commercial exploitation and the amount of investment which will have to be made for years afterwards to get a better system installed.

Why can we deal with dangerous dogs in a couple of weeks but with cruelty to pigs in not less than eight years? That is what baffles me. It makes me so impatient—the pretensions that human beings have of nobility, of lofty ideals, and a belief in God when they are little better than the animals they keep.

Why do we have to wait? Is it because of the commercial interests that are at stake here? We are told that it will cost the industry £30 million, but we are going to spend that on a fruitless chase after the so-called justice of war criminals. Moreover, we are starting on that level of expenditure now not by the consent of this House, thank goodness, but on the independent judgment of the other place which took a step not taken for 40 years by ignoring your Lordships' verdict and going straight to the Crown to force its own way. Where is the sense of proportion? How can one bear this? My difficulty is that I cannot contain myself when I address these problems. Human beings are so bloody stupid, yet we have to live with it.

It is shameful that our Refreshment Department has pork on the menu. Pork ought to be banned from your Lordships' House as a mark of disapproval at the conditions under which pigs are kept to produce it. I said on a previous occasion how much I reproach myself for not being stronger in the Labour government of 1964 when the Brambell Report came up for review. However, there is a history to that and I will not bore the House with it. We should have been stronger and recognised that there lay this kind of problem. And it is not the only one—battery hens, turkeys, ducks, and calves are all in this now. Oh dear!

I beseech the veterinary profession to recognise the seeds of interminable cruelty in what they see in the commercial development of animals. I fear that the human race will exterminate the living species it regards as of no commercial value and exploit those upon which it feeds or clothes itself, or can turn to commercial profit. That is coming. The animal kingdom, for its own sake, has no recognition. To cure their souls human beings and the Churches are having to go to God to bless them; yet we behave to the animal kingdom—another part of the living world —as if it scarcely deserves the justice of existence. That is appalling.

Let us heed the warnings early enough to nip this problem in the bud. We do have such a warning in regard to the slaughter of deer, which we have not yet resolved. These are the beginnings of commercial enterprises which are modest when they start but gradually grow and dig deep into the economic life of a large part of our industry. We should watch that, catch it early and stop it. As it is, we may now have to turn our attention more to Europe for remedies than to our own Government because more and more of these matters have a European dimension. It is to Europe we may have to go, but we shall have to work for it. It will take a long time to come.

In the meantime, we ought to address ourselves to the problem of informing the public of what we are considering this afternoon and on other similar occasions. The public are given a view of the surgical wards of our hospitals and the advances of surgery in human affairs; they are shown pictures of dastardly things done to human beings-not all of them, but we get a glimpse of what in our experience is deeply disturbing. One thing the public is rarely shown is what goes on inside slaughterhouses and with intensive animal production.

We consume over 15 million pigs a year. Practically all of them are kept in intensive conditions. There are very few pigs produced nowadays that lead a normal life and have room for exercise and the enjoyment of existence. The breeding sow must surely be the most miserable animal of the lot. It is shocking and appalling what they undergo. Even the process of artificial insemination can leave them shrieking. But somebody has to become indifferent to all that—and they do. They call it animal production. To me this is a moral issue. Where are the Churches in all this? What do they preach? Or have they not yet discarded the doctrine that animals are here for the benefit of human beings and that we should be free to use them as we think fit? That is how it began and how it was for centuries. That is why that doctrine has to be demolished in order to get animals a stake in human affairs.

We welcome these proposals. I am very sorry for the Minister. Every time she brings an improvement before your Lordships' House—something that she and the Government have fought for or tried to do—she is met with a cool reception. There are no victors in this field. When these provisions are met they will be inadequate, out of date and much too late. People's thoughts are going further than what is proposed this afternoon. I can only hope that these occasions will be used as I fear I am using this occasion—for the wider issue to be developed with feeling and emotion and with a sense of purpose.

It is regrettable that it has taken so long and will take another eight years—another four or five generations of breeding sows—before we can get new equipment installed. The longer we go on, the more elaborate and expensive this kind of equipment will become and the longer it will take to get rid of it. Although the Jewish persuasion has agreed to a change in the casting pen, that cannot come about for a time because there is equipment to be replaced. That costs money. A great many people do not see, either from a religious or commercial point of view, that they should install a lot of expensive equipment merely to satisfy the attitudes of other people about their use of animals. That is why it is so important to search for conditions that may lead to cruelty and cause extreme hardship to animals for years to come before we can get them put right. There ought be an immediate ban on sweat boxes; there ought to be this and there ought to be that, but they are not in these regulations.

That is how I feel. I welcome what the Minister has introduced. I thank her for her work. I apologise for the fact that the noble Baroness, and your Lordships too, have had to listen to this diatribe.

5.30 p.m.

Baroness Trumpington

My Lords, the noble Lord, Lord Houghton, should not apologise. We all share his feelings. I loathe and abhor any cruelty to any animal. Both he and the noble Baroness were quite right to put their strongly held feelings into words. I just wanted to say that before I answered the various questions raised during the discussion of the regulations.

The noble Lord, Lord Gallacher, referred to Sir Richard Body's Bill. The noble Lord is very naughty. There was no blocking of the Bill. Since the Committee debate in another place on 26th April the Bill has obtained its Report stage. As for its future, that question will have to be addressed to Sir Richard Body. There was certainly no blocking from the Government's point of view. There has been good feeling on the issue. The regulations cover—

Lord Gallacher

My Lords, I thank the noble Baroness for giving way. The blocking to which I referred was at Report stage, when allegations were made that certain Back Benchers on the Government side of the House were making speeches of inordinate length—one speech lasted two-and-a-half hours—in the hope that the Report stage would not be completed that day. If that does not constitute blocking, the noble Baroness must agree that it comes very close to it.

Baroness Trumpington

My Lords, I cannot be responsible for the length of speeches in either House. However, on that occasion my honourable friend the Member for Penrith and the Border said that he would bring forward regulations. Those regulations are now before us.

I was asked why the regulations cover all pigs. The evidence that has led to the phasing out of tethers and close confinement systems is based on their effect on sows, as my noble friend Lord Soulsby said. However, it must be accepted that any pig kept in such conditions will suffer. There is no reason why pigs should be so kept. Only rarely have members of the State Veterinary Service come across other types of pig kept in such systems. However, it is sensible to make it an offence in these cases as well.

The noble Lord, Lord John-Mackie, referred to the tethering of cows and sows. For cattle, tethering is seasonal for winter housing, but the majority are in loose house systems. Cows are not continuously tethered. All advice that we have received is against the continuous tethering of sows. The practice was condemned by the Select Committee, FAWC, and so on. The noble Lord, Lord Mackie of Benshie, mentioned outdoor tethering. Any form of tethering of pigs has the potential to cause injury if the tethers are not regularly inspected and adjusted. There is no reason why a paddock cannot be fenced. The proposed regulations give those producers who wish to keep pigs outdoors sufficient time to replace tethers with fences.

The noble Lord, Lord Gallacher, asked when the EC will follow our lead. Our lead is very important in this issue. We very much hope that the EC will follow. After a recent intervention in the Agriculture Council recently by my right honourable friend the Minister the council agreed to resume discussions shortly. The incoming Dutch presidency of the council has made this a priority in its work programme.

Noble Lords referred to the feeding of pigs. I agree that a bossy sow which is preventing others from eating can be a difficult problem. Pigs can be fed in stalls. Regulations allow that. But pigs must not be kept in small stalls all the time. Stalls must be of a minimum size.

My noble friend Lord Elliott of Morpeth and many other noble Lords asked why the period for implementation is so long. I had hoped that in my original remarks I had made it quite clear that there can be problems with all husbandry systems. Only recently has it become clear that alternatives could be successfully operated both in terms of welfare and of economics. This is not simply a matter of economics but of getting the welfare right. That is what we all want. The ministry's R&D has now shown that group housing systems can be operated successfully.

I have answered most of the questions. If I find that I have not answered some noble Lords I shall of course write to them. I hope your Lordships are happy that the order has come forward. In my view it is an important welfare measure and one with which we lead Europe.

On Question, Motion agreed to.